Recovering heroin addict, Joshua DeLong, has opened a new outreach program for addicts in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. Called Joshua’s Place, the venue at 131 South Main Street, offers support group meetings, resources and the opportunity to be listened to for those struggling with addiction.
DeLong, who will be clean 53 days on Saturday, June 24, wanted a way to reach out to his community and offer hope for recovery to anyone struggling with addiction. DeLong’s alcohol addiction began before middle school. Turning to drugs, he overdosed for the first time at the age of 12. Following these incidences, DeLong dropped out of school, only to be convicted twice.
Eventually DeLong went through a seven year period of on and off sobriety. While sober, he opened his own successful real estate development office, got married and became a father of three. He appeared to have finally gotten his life together. His mother, however, knew better. “I knew his lifestyle was too much pressure, that he couldn’t sustain it” (Greco, 2017, paragraph 20).
DeLong’s mother proved right when, in 2015, he relapsed after one drink at a country club. This single drink quickly escalated to his return to hard drugs–specifically heroin. A simple mistake, the belief that he was in control, sent DeLong on a two year downward spiral, causing him to lose the family he loved and the business he worked to create.
DeLong credits his ability to get clean to a spiritual experience: “Some things are so sacred that we dare not put them into words…I felt like God was speaking right to me” (Greco, 2017, paragraph 25), he says, of a phone call he made to a friend when he was at his lowest point.
This experience inspired him to enter treatment and get started on the road to recovery. Along the way, DeLong made a list of every person he had harmed. One by one, he went to each of them and apologized for the pain he had inflicted.
Then, he went a step further and began recording videos to share his story with the world: “I want to tell my life story and be completely transparent” (Greco, 2017, paragraph 31), he explains. It was during these recordings that he began thinking of other ways to reach struggling addicts and decided to open Joshua’s Place. “It’s about the community and helping everyone” (Greco, 2017, paragraph 37), he says. “Every story is important” (Greco, 2017, paragraph 34). Sharing personal struggles can open doors for people who feel trapped in their addiction. DeLong credits his own recovery to reaching out through Joshua’s Place.
Taking sobriety one day at a time can be difficult. The pull of addiction is ever present. Having a safe haven like Joshua’s Place can give those caught in addiction hope. “It’s never too late,” DeLong says. “There is hope. There is redemption…every miracle under the sun is available to those who want to break free” (Greco, 2017, paragraph 10 & 11).
For more information on this topic, please read “Family shares addiction struggle, starts outreach in Eaton Rapids.”
Greco, R. (2017, June 16). Family Shares Addiction Struggle, Starts Outreach in Eaton Rapids. Lansing State Journal. Retrieved from http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/news/local/2017/06/16/family-shares-addiction-struggle-starts-outreach-eaton-rapids/395714001/